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Goodwill Summer DIY Finds to Keep Young Minds Sharp

June 30, 2024

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it’s also a great opportunity to keep young minds engaged and learning. With the right activities, you can turn the summer break into a season of creativity and exploration for your kids.

Goodwill offers a treasure trove of affordable items that can be transformed into exciting DIY projects and educational activities. Here are some fantastic ideas to keep young minds sharp during the summer months.

DIY Craft Projects

Homemade Bird Feeders

Creating bird feeders is a fun way to teach kids about nature and wildlife.

  • Supplies Needed: Recycled plastic bottles or milk cartons, string, birdseed, paint, and paintbrushes.
  • Instructions: Cut openings in the sides of the bottles or cartons to create spaces for the birds to access the seeds. Decorate the feeders with paint, then fill them with birdseed. Hang them in your yard and enjoy bird-watching with your kids.

T-Shirt Tie-Dye

Tie-dyeing is a classic summer activity that combines art and science.

  • Supplies Needed: Plain white T-shirts (found at Goodwill), fabric dye in various colors, rubber bands, gloves, and plastic squeeze bottles.
  • Instructions: Twist and bind the T-shirts with rubber bands to create different patterns. Mix the dye according to the instructions and use the squeeze bottles to apply the dye to the shirts. Let the dye set, then rinse and dry the shirts. This activity teaches kids about color mixing and chemical reactions.

Recycled Paper Making

Turn old newspapers and scrap paper into new, handmade paper.

  • Supplies Needed: Old paper (newspapers, scrap paper), a blender, a large basin, a wooden frame with mesh (to use as a mold), and sponges.
  • Instructions: Tear the old paper into small pieces and soak them in water. Blend the soaked paper into a pulp. Pour the pulp into a basin filled with water. Submerge the frame in the mixture and lift it out evenly to catch the pulp on the mesh. Press out the excess water with sponges and let the paper dry. Kids will learn about recycling and the process of making paper.

Educational Activities

DIY Science Experiments

Goodwill is a great place to find materials for simple and educational science experiments.

  • Volcano Eruption: Use baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring to create a small-scale volcanic eruption. This teaches kids about chemical reactions. You can find jars and figurines to add to the scene at Goodwill.
  • Plant Growth: Purchase used flower pots and seeds. Teach kids how to plant and care for flowers or vegetables, explaining the basics of photosynthesis and plant biology.

Summer Reading Nook

Create a cozy reading nook to encourage summer reading.

  • Supplies Needed: Bean bags or cushions, fairy lights, bookshelves, and a variety of books (all of which can be found at Goodwill).
  • Instructions: Set up a corner of a room with comfortable seating and soft lighting. Stock the shelves with books suitable for your kids’ reading levels and interests. Encourage daily reading by making it a part of the summer routine.

Art and Craft Station

Set up a dedicated space for arts and crafts.

  • Supplies Needed: Art supplies such as markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue, scissors, and various types of paper. Look for storage bins and containers at Goodwill to organize these supplies.
  • Instructions: Create a designated area where kids can freely express their creativity. Rotate different craft projects such as painting, drawing, and collaging to keep things interesting.

Outdoor Activities

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt to explore the outdoors and learn about nature.

  • Supplies Needed: Scavenger hunt list (can include items like a specific type of leaf, a feather, a rock, etc.), magnifying glass, notebook, and pencil.
  • Instructions: Create a list of natural items for the kids to find in your backyard or a local park. Provide them with notebooks to record their findings and any observations. This activity promotes exploration and curiosity about the natural world.

Backyard Camping

Turn your backyard into a camping adventure.

  • Supplies Needed: Tents, sleeping bags, flashlights, and outdoor games (many of these items can be found at Goodwill).
  • Instructions: Set up a tent and have a camping night in your backyard. Plan activities such as stargazing, telling stories, and roasting marshmallows. This can be a fun way to teach kids basic camping skills and an appreciation for the outdoors.

DIY Obstacle Course

Create an obstacle course to encourage physical activity and problem-solving.

  • Supplies Needed: Various household items like hula hoops, ropes, cones, and old tires.
  • Instructions: Design an obstacle course in your backyard using the collected items. Challenge kids to navigate the course and time their performance. This promotes physical fitness and coordination.

Keeping kids engaged and learning during the summer doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With a bit of creativity and the affordable resources available at Goodwill, you can create a summer full of fun, educational, and memorable activities.

Visit your local Goodwill store today to find everything you need to keep young minds sharp and active all summer long.